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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer battle over spiraling NHS ready lists at PMQs – POLITICO


Top minister’s questions: a shouty, jeery, very on occasion helpful ad for British politics. Right here’s what you want to understand from these days’s consultation in POLITICO’s weekly run-through.

Housework observe: After two weeks in a row of low-energy battles between deputies Oliver Dowden and Angela Rayner at PMQs, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer returned to the fray these days. Don’t get used to seeing them although — the Commons will upward push the next day for a six-week recess.

What they sparred about: Politics is all in regards to the pledges in 2023. At the day some precise development was once made in opposition to considered one of Sunak’s core pledges to halve inflation, Starmer pressed the PM on any other key promise: decreasing NHS ready lists, that are these days upper than they’ve ever been.

What Sunak sought after to speak about: The PM attempted accountable lengthy well being provider waits on moves within the public sector — and stated Starmer will have to “unglue himself from the fence” and come to a decision if he helps them or now not.

What Starmer sought after to speak about: As a part of opposition efforts to assault the Tories’ financial credentials, the Labour chief argued the Tories haven’t even stated how they’ll pay for his or her NHS team of workers plan — or even referenced the Theresa Might-era “magic cash tree.”

Is it recess but? Amid rows over the NHS team of workers plan, Sunak had a in actuality excellent gag up his sleeve: “We all know I’m keen on doing maths to 18, however [Starmer] makes an excessively sturdy case for doing maths to 61.”

Sadly, the PM may have fluffed the gag — Starmer identified he’s in reality 60.

The in actuality vital bit: Sunak began the consultation with an apology on behalf of the federal government to LGBT Armed Forces veterans who had been compelled out their jobs beneath a pre-2000 ban.

Loose merch alert: The SNP’s bold Westminster leader Stephen Flynn had his team of workers hand out mugs attacking Labour’s kid poverty U-turn to reporters sooner than PMQs. In a preview of what’s to return in subsequent 12 months’s common election, the Scottish nationalist (whose birthday celebration is beneath danger from Labour in Scotland) then targeted his questions totally on Starmer and his newfound strengthen for the federal government’s cap on social safety. It ended in an extraordinary second of settlement between Sunak and Starmer — as Sunak welcomed the Labour chief’s strengthen. Be expecting the SNP to clip that one up for social media.

Aspect plot: Tory backbencher Mark Francois delivered a withering assault on fellow Tory and protection committee Chairman Tobias Ellwood, who has sparked fury by means of urging engagement with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan following a shuttle there.

Completely non-scientific rankings at the door: Each males hit the strains they sought after to hit in a lemon-and-herb degree of highly spiced pre-recess PMQs. Sunak specifically had some great strains — because the Tories glance to ramp up the assaults forward of 3 difficult by-elections the next day.

Sunak 7/10 … Starmer 6/10 … The ability of unfastened political products 100/10.


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